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Picturing Aid in Haiti: Reflections on the making of a work of graphic reportage


Picturing Aid in Haiti: Reflections on the making of a work of graphic reportage

Macdonald, Isabel (2018) Picturing Aid in Haiti: Reflections on the making of a work of graphic reportage. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This research-creation PhD thesis contributes to recent debates about what journalism could (or should) be in today's fast-changing media landscape by focusing on graphic reportage, a journalistic approach that relies on the drawn medium of comics. In order to assess how working in this drawn form might affect the practices that journalists use in their work, I reflect critically on my process of making Picturing Aid in Haiti, a work of graphic reportage about humanitarian interventions in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. I carried out fieldwork for this graphic project in 2013 in Port-au-Prince, where I recorded a series of interviews with Haitians who lived for more than three years in a displacement camp. During this fieldwork, I also interviewed humanitarian workers and local landowners, and I documented what I observed through notes, photographs and sketches. Based on this research, I wrote the script for a graphic book, and I began illustrating and designing sample panels and pages of graphic reportage. In my research for this graphic project, I consciously sought out information and points of view often neglected in international news coverage of humanitarian interventions in places like Haiti. Reflecting on the interviews and observational research I carried out in Haiti, I show in this thesis that the approach of graphic reportage facilitated this process. Discussing specific excerpts from my graphic project, which serves as a platform for the words, stories and images that different interviewees contributed to this project, I demonstrate that this drawn form of journalism can open up space for exploring the perspectives of people like displaced Haitians whose voices, agency and histories are often missing or negated in the news. Through specific examples from Picturing Aid in Haiti, which also foregrounds some of the complex dynamics involved in my own process of researching, writing and visually representing aid in a Haitian camp, this thesis also shows that graphic reportage has the potential to encourage greater reflexivity in journalism.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Macdonald, Isabel
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:March 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Gagnon, Monika
Keywords:graphic reportage, comics journalism, journalism, journalism practices, journalism methods, practice-based research, practice-led research, research-creation, visual methods, comics, Haiti, Haitian earthquake, humanitarian aid, media coverage of disasters, media frames, framing, colonialism, imperialism, golf courses, U.S. military occupation, U.S. marines, U.S. occupation of Haiti, Joe Sacco, humanitarian interventions, humanitarianism, aid, international reporting, crisis reporting, international reporters, foreign correspondents, reflexivity, journalists, news reporting, alternative media, investigative reporting, celebrity humanitarianism, celebrities, Internally Displaced People, camps, Temporary Protected Status, indicators, drones, politics of data, migration, International Organization for Migration, media narratives, media images, drawing, sketches, fieldwork, ethnographic methods
ID Code:983850
Deposited On:05 Jun 2018 14:07
Last Modified:05 Jun 2018 14:07


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